Mar. 30th, 2017

Just over a week ago, I got back from the Left Coast Crime convention, held this year in Honolulu, Hawaii. It took me several days to fully recover from the six-hour time difference (in the opposite direction from the 6-hour time difference between here and Iceland) but now I feel in reasonably good-enough shape to offer at least a short travelogue.

I've always been drawn to islands, for some reason. If there's another language and culture to learn a little about, that adds to the mystique for me. A more idyllic setting (right on the beach in Waikiki) could scarcely be imagined - or a starker contrast in climate with the one we have in Ottawa! Though I have to say, perhaps for that very reason, that I didn't quite feel the affinity with Hawaii that I did for Iceland or Scotland or some of the other places I've visited. A great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there - I'd miss the shifts in seasons that we have here: snowmen and skating in the winter, sugaring off in the spring, harvest time and colour-changing leaves in autumn. I honestly wouldn't really want the summers to be much longer than they are here as I can't take the heat and especially the humidity.

A key problem was not having a thing to wear - or, more to the point, suitable gear to wear in transit. The day before I left for the trip, it was snowstorms and -10 degree temperatures in Ottawa. In Hawaii it was shorts and tank-top weather (though not so much with the air conditioning going full blast indoors). I settled on a pair of shoes with portable overshoes and an all-weather coat with zip-out lining. Under it, I dressed in layers (a turtleneck under a long-sleeved T-shirt) and a pair of tights under my jeans. I packed sandals and my bathing suit and some lighter-weight tops and bottoms.

Amazingly, there were no flight delays. I had direct flights between Vancouver and Honolulu, so my itinerary didn't pose some of the climate challenges it might have if I'd been travelling a different route. Customs and Security clearances also went smoothly. I'd been a little nervous about travelling to the U.S. under the Trump regime's travel restrictions but there was no problem. And even though I was going there during the Ontario March break week, and coming back just as the kids in Hawaii were starting theirs, officials seemed to be well prepared for it all and I didn't have to deal with long line-ups or delays.

But about the conference itself: I had a wonderful time. International guest of honour was Colin Cotterill, who lives in Thailand but writes a series about a 70-something coroner, Dr. Siri, set in 1970s-era Laos. I read the first book in the series, The Coroner's Lunch, just before I went, and I look forward to reading more. Faye and Jonathan Kellerman were also guests of honour, getting Lifetime Achievement awards. I read a recent Jonathan Kellerman book, Breakdown, while travelling there, and I left it on the Exchange Table for someone else to enjoy prior to going back home (which also freed up a bit of space in my luggage for the books I acquired there). I had borrowed and read a Faye Kellerman book of short stories and memoirs from the library just before leaving Ottawa and while I'm not sure I'm likely to read more of either Kellerman's work, it was good to get an idea of the kind of thing they write. I made it to the New Authors breakfast, something I always enjoy as it enables me to learn about authors I enjoy but might otherwise never discover. And when I signed up for an author-hosted table at the Saturday dinner, I opted for one hosted by authors based in Hawaii (none of which I was familiar with). I'm long overdue to write another "What has Blogcutter been reading?" instalment, so I'll tackle that soon!

There wasn't a lot of time for sightseeing away from the resort, but I did make it to an interesting Art Museum which had a special exhibition on of young Hawaiian artists. I also went to their zoo, which was a bit of a disappointment as several of the animal areas were temporarily closed. I found that the "hop-on, hop-off" Waikiki Trolley tours were a good way to see the area when you have limited time. I saw the Iolani Palace as well as some spectacular scenery at Diamond Head. Didn't make it to Pear Harbour, though - maybe next time, if there is one!



October 2017


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